Log #19n Rendering Assistance in Soller

May 3, 2001 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 19 Spain, The Logs

Log #19n Rendering Assistance in Soller

Puerto de Pollensa, Mallorca
May 3/01

Hi Folks,

We’re back in Pollensa, on Mallorca after having a few lovely days on Menorca. We’ll be going back there on Saturday the 5th hopefully.

Please excuse this second log arriving at the same time as Log #19m. I would like to space them out, but my access to E‑mail is limited and the audio coupler has not been working lately from north Mallorca, and so I will be sending this from Palma when we are in town delivering Gilles to the airport. The distance from Pollensa to Palma is about 100 kilometres. This north coast of Mallorca is quite dramatic. I hope you enjoy the logs.

After we drop Gilles off at the airport we will go to the Palma Boat Show, and get a new thermocouple for our new stove, send the e‑mail, pick up our mail from Mary, and go to a delivery service for our new Navtex weather receiver, plus whatever odds and sods we need to do. We’ll have a rental car for the day, and this will hopefully be our last trip to Palma and around Mallorca, as we hope to leave Saturday, weather permitting for Menorca again, then off to Tunisia and Malta for the rest of May, and up to Croatia for the summer.

All the best,


Log #19n Rendering Assistance in Soller

Puerto de Pollensa, Mallorca
May 2, 2001
Covers the period April 16 to 21, 2001

We had an enjoyable time in Puerto de Soller (39 47.6N, 002 41.6E) with our friends on Soleil Sans Fin and Danny II, all three of us at anchor in the bay. The second day there, Gilles and I took a long dinghy ride in Sprite outside the bay along the cliff sided shoreline, checking out the several caves etched into the rock walls. One cave just outside the west cape was a large grotto‑type entrance into the rock face, dome shaped, fifty feet high with an opening to the sky at the top. We explored several other small caves, rock fissures, and quiet little bays in which we could see the bottom 15 feet down with crystal clarity. Gilles enjoyed watching the colourful jelly fish in their transparent pink, purple and orange bouffant silkiness, as they ebbed and undulated through the azure blue waters into the coves with their silent graceful ballets, streaming slender gossamer threads in their invisible wake.

The cliff walls told of their tortured geology as we noted large boulders the size of Veleda carelessly dropped to the base of several shoreline gullies. The cracks and fissures testified to the forces that tore them asunder. The undulating waves of the rock strata told the story of the fantastic folding forces that shaped not only the Balearics here in thmiddle of the Mediterranean, but also the Alps themselves in the middle of Europe. We were in awe as we humbly skirted this magnificent towering rocky panorama of the north coast of Mallorca.

That evening, we had a barbecue pot luck supper on Soleil Sans Fin, with Gilles being our dinghy driver for us, and for Dany II as they had problems with their dinghy. We were still having problems with the alternator not charging properly, and producing less than 20 amps when it should be putting out at least 70.

Another problem we experienced was with our cooking stove. We were seeing flames beneath the surface of the stove top, and upon inspection identified that two of the burners had rusted tubes with holes letting out extra gas that ignited shortly after the burners were lit. It was time to get a new stove. We could not get any replacement parts for this, as we had tried while in London last year, and even phoning back to the manufacturer in the US, found out that model is no longer produced, and parts are not available. In the meantime we patched the burner tubes with metal epoxy. It seemed to work OK, but there was a bit of burned epoxy smell after the burners went out. So, we would have to make a trip into Palma to get a new stove.

As a northeast gale was forecast, we shifted anchorage closer inshore where there would be less wave action. We noted that waves coming in the entrance would bounce off the west side rock walls and ricochet across the harbour causing an uncomfortable swell. Our new location was better.

As the gale was in full force, we noticed a 45 foot ketch dragging anchor down on a 33  foot Beneteau, both French flagged boats. No one was aboard either vessel. I went over in Sprite to see if there was anything that could be done and if they were actually going to touch. They started touching, with the starboard quarter of the ketch drifting onto the port bow of the Beneteau. What to do?

I looked on both boats for any fenders I could rig to put between their points of contact. No luck; none were on deck and their cockpit lockers were locked. I went back to Veleda and brought our fenders over to cushion the impact. By this time Bill from Soleil Sans Fin was over in his dinghy to see if he could help. We didnÆt want the responsibility of trying to re‑anchor either boat; for if we did so and further damage was sustained, we might be liable. I had Judy call the harbourmaster, who seemed reluctant to do anything. No help there.

We asked ourselves, “What would we want other boaters to do if our boats were in a similar dangerous situation?” Save them. Do not let them drift onto the rocks. These boats were a danger to each other. It appeared that the Ketchm was the offending vessel, dragging or drifting down on the sloop. Its chain anchor rode felt loose, not secured to the bottom. Finally, I pushed the ketch away from the Beneteau with Sprite, while Bill used his dinghy to pull the Beneteau away from the ketchÆs route of drag. After a while, it appeared that the ketch had drifted clear and was drifting about 50 feet downwind of the sloop, and maintained that distance. I retrieved my fenders, and noted the damage to both boats.

The ketch had some of its nice mahogany quarterdeck rail chewed up in a couple of places, but no structural damage. The float attached to its life ring has been knocked overboard, and was illuminated from the salt water. I placed it back on deck, but did not try to turn it off or secure it back on the life ring bracket. The Beneteau had its port bow toe rail mangled in three or four places, but no damage to the fibreglass, stanchions, or lifelines.

I kept an eye on the boats and the ketch seemed to drift merrily downwind, settling about 100 feet from the sloop, but not in danger of going on the beach. Fortunately the lee shore was a sandy beach, not a rocky shoal.

Next day when the owners were on board, we went over to the sloop, and showed the owner the damage that had been done. Vernon, the owner, who was single handing, spoke no English, but we were able to communicate the problem to him. As the damage to his toe rail was below the deck level, he had not noticed it before we pointed it out. He was friends with the crew of the ketch, and we had a chat with all of them. They said it was the first time they had ever left their boats untended overnight at anchor, and had not heard of any gales forecast on the French weather service before leaving the day before. I think the problem was not the anchor dragging, but that the ketch had out too much scope (anchor chain). He had out about 100 feet of chain in only 15 to 20 feet of water. That’s why his boat was waltzing all over the place in the heavy winds. However, they were appreciative of our efforts to help, and had us over for drinks the next day.

We moved over to the fuel dock the evening of Friday April 20, as we had ordered a new stove and wanted to be alongside to take delivery of it. We were fortunate that we did so, as an even worse storm came through on Saturday, the worst we had experienced since the force 9 storm we experienced in Norway last spring. More about it, and our car trip through the mountains to Palma and Fornalutx, a delightful mountain village in my next log.